THE forced closure of all bars by government as a Covid-19 precautionary measure early this year has left food vendors who used to operate inside council beerhalls in Bulawayo’s high-density suburbs without income.

The vendors, mostly elderly women, were famous with beer drinkers for selling cheap traditional foods, including dried Mopani worms, cow trotters and heads, pork heads, ears, trotters; chicken feet, heads and intestines.

Also available were traditional herbal aphrodisiacs, herbs for treating sexually transmitted infections and snuff.

However, the once-booming business was immediately halted on 30 March when President Emmerson Mnangagwa decreed a ban on public gatherings and stopped bars from operating.

The ban still stands four months later amid an increase in Covid-19 cases.

However, the continued lockdown has left the food traders counting the losses.

“I used to sell roasted meat to patrons at Elangeni Bar before the outbreak of Covid-19. The money which I used to get from vending in the beerhalls helped me to buy food for my family. Now we are starving because my business has been affected,” said Sharon Sibindi, a vendor in Tshabalala.

Hebert Sigauke said he used to sell herbal aphrodisiacs outside Sizinda Beer Hall but due to the outbreak of Covid-19, he has since stopped the business.